Being disabled can be very difficult. This is true regardless of whether you struggle with a physical disability – or a mental one. Often, those who struggle with a mental illness wonder if it will be considered as a disability by the Social Security Administration in the same way as a physical disability would. The good news is that if a mental illness is preventing you from working and living your life as you otherwise would, you may qualify for disability benefits.
What Types Of Benefits Are Available?
Those who are seeking Social Security disability benefits should understand first that there are two types of benefits available. These include:
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Benefits: SSDI benefits are benefits that the Social Security Administration pays to individuals with a qualifying medical condition that has rendered them disabled for at least one continuous calendar year or more and who are “insured.” To be “insured” in the eyes of the Social Security Administration, an individual must have worked a qualifying job for a sufficient length of time, through which he or she paid a portion of their salary to the Social Security Administration.
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Benefits: As is the case with SSDI benefits, to qualify for SSI benefits, an individual must have a qualifying medical condition that has rendered them disabled for at least one continuous calendar year or more. Unlike the case with SSDI benefits, those who receive SSI benefits need not be insured. They do, however, have to have income and resources below a certain threshold established by the Social Security Administration.
Regardless of the type of benefit you receive, the good news is that both types of benefits may be available for qualifying mental health disabilities. The question is – which mental illnesses qualify? Let’s take a closer look together.
Is Your Mental Illness a “Disability”?
To determine whether or not an individual has a “disability” for the purpose of being approved for benefits, the Social Security Administration will often consult its “Listing of Impairments,” more commonly referred to as the “Blue Book.” This guide contains various conditions and accompanying symptoms that are considered disabling if proven by sufficient medical evidence and if they render an individual disabled for one calendar year or more.
With regard to mental disorders, the Blue Book includes eleven categories of disorders that may qualify for disability benefits, including:
- Depressive, bipolar, and related disorders
- Schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders
- Neurocognitive disorders
- Neurodevelopmental disorders
- Trauma and stressor-related disorders
- Eating disorders
- Anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders
- Personality and impulse-control disorders
- Intellectual disorders
- Somatic symptoms and related disorders
- Autism spectrum disorder
If you are seeking Social Security benefits for a mental disorder, you will need to provide sufficient medical proof that your condition satisfies the criteria outlined in the Blue Book.
Why Might a Claim be Denied?
Often, mental illness claims are denied for reasons that could be avoided if the proper steps are taken. Some of the most frequent reasons that mental health claims are denied include:
- Inadequate medical history: Typically, the SSA will evaluate the medical records and treatment history submitted by an applicant in the course of determining eligibility for benefits. If records are inadequate or show inconsistent treatment, this may be a basis for denial of the claim.
- Lack of a precise diagnosis: It is always helpful to have a specific and clear diagnosis from a qualified medical professional. If a condition is not included in the Blue Book, it does not automatically mean that benefits will be denied. Still, it often means that additional evidence and proof will be needed to substantiate the claim.
- Failure to comply with recommended medical treatment: If you are struggling with any disability, it is essential to be able to demonstrate a willingness to comply with the recommendations of treating medical professionals. The SSA will need to see that a mental disorder is so severe that it cannot be successfully managed by treatment in order to award benefits.
If you struggle with a mental health condition and you are planning to seek benefits, you will want to ensure that you avoid these difficulties. You’ll also want to ensure that you find a knowledgeable and experienced attorney who can guide you through the process each step of the way.
Sackett Law – Here For You
If you are struggling with a disability, whether mental or physical, you should never feel that you are struggling alone. At Sackett Law, we understand exactly how difficult your struggle is – and that’s why we’re here to help. Instead of worrying about how you will pursue the benefits you need and deserve, you can leave those matters to us. When you do, you’ll have the peace of mind in knowing that you’ve put your case in good hands. We understand every aspect of the law concerning disability claims, and we’ll always pursue the best legal strategies on your behalf. If you’re ready to get started, give us a call. We look forward to speaking with you soon.